If the elusive reptile attacks, then we will shoot to kill, say police Police may shoot to kill the Yuen Long crocodile if the protected reptile launches an attack and causes an immediate danger to people, according to instructions issued yesterday. The news came as police and conservation officers yesterday made a fruitless search in the area for the creature. On Monday, the crocodile, believed to be an escaped or dumped pet, slipped into water during attempts to shoot it with a tranquiliser dart and capture it. It has not been seen since. 'Our duty is to protect the lives and property of the public. If someone's life is in danger, we have to stop it and shoot if necessary,' said Chief Inspector Mark Ma Kwok-wah, the assistant Yuen Long divisional commander. 'We hope shooting the crocodile with our revolvers will only be used as a last resort.' It is understood that police are also considering issuing more powerful weapons - such as shotguns - to officers patrolling the Shan Pui River, Yuen Long, where the 1.2 metre crocodile was seen swimming and basking on a mudflat over the weekend and on Monday. But this may be unnecessary, according to Wong Che-lok, wetland and fauna conservation officer for the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). He believes the chance of an attack is very low. 'It appears that the crocodile is afraid of people and I believe it will escape and hide if it is scared by noise and light,' he said. Officers have been making hourly checks at Shan Pui Chung Ho village, which is next to the river and home to dozens of villagers. On Monday, a cage baited with half a chicken was set up in the river to try to capture the reptile. Yesterday, AFCD officers placed another cage baited with fish. Officers were stationed in the area to monitor the two cages. Mr Wong said after reviewing Monday's operation, the department had given up on using a tranquiliser gun. 'Even we could catch it with this method, it might get hurt in a net while struggling, and injure our officers. So the best method we think is to use cages with baits to trap it. 'We believe the crocodile is still hiding somewhere in the river and the chance of catching it is high,' he said. On Monday afternoon, they had planned to shoot it with a tranquiliser gun before securing it using nets, ropes, blankets and tapes. But their attempt failed when the crocodile slipped back into the water and disappeared from sight. A spokesman for Guangzhou City's Agriculture Bureau believes the crocodile is not an escapee from the bureau's reptile breeding farms in Guangdong. He said there had been no reports of any crocodiles going missing.